Thank you to everyone who read my post on Monday. I was slightly hesitant to share that story—leaving the security of a job and leaping off into space!—but your thoughtful comments, emails, and Facebook notes warmed my heart. I really appreciate all of you. You’re so sweet and encouraging!
In high school, well before food blogging entered my brain, I baked. A lot. I started out on the simple stuff: boxed brownie mixes and cookies from scratch, with chocolate chips or oatmeal and raisins thrown in. But when senior year began, I decided that my baking skills should graduate and earn a diploma too, so I dusted off Mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook and skimmed through the pages.
I stopped in the Muffins and Quick Breads section when I saw a recipe for banana bread. I looked around the kitchen, spotted a few speckled bananas left over from last week’s lunches, and smiled. Perfect!
Still health-conscious back then, I shorted the oil and substituted an extra banana instead. I spread the batter into the pan, waited impatiently for an hour while the oven worked its magic, and wore a hole in the floor from pacing back and forth while the loaf cooled. (Yes, I still did my homework somewhere in there too—I promise!)
You know the phrase, “All’s fair in love and war”? Well, add banana bread to that too. Once the bread knife came out, it was every man for himself! Mom and I generally spent the most time in the kitchen and therefore snuck the greatest number of slices, whereas Dad worked long hours and barely averaged one piece per loaf.
But before you feel sorry for him, you should know that bananas weren’t all that popular in our brown bag lunches, so I baked at least one loaf of banana bread every week of September that year!
In honor of my mom sticking to her new diet, I made this loaf a little different. It’s gluten-free and clean-eating friendly! I chose coconut and rice flours for their nutty and sweet tastes. While many gluten-free flours can be substituted cup-for-cup for all-purpose flour, coconut flour cannot. Coconut flour is 3-4 times as absorbent as regular flour, so you only need ¼ to ⅓ as much. (Remember to measure it correctly!)
You’ll use 1 medium banana for this bread, and the spottier the better! As bananas ripen, they convert their starches to sugar, so you’ll need less additional sweetener with very speckled bananas. I opted for honey because it pairs perfectly with bananas, but you could substitute agave or maple syrup to make the banana bread vegan.
When combining the wet and dry ingredients the batter will look fairly thin. You must let the batter sit untouched for 10 minutes before spreading it into the pan because the coconut flour needs extra time to absorb the liquids. This step is mandatory! The batter magically thickens while you wait, resulting in the regular consistency you’d expect.
I saved the pecans to sprinkle on top because, umm, I don’t actually like nuts in my banana bread! I pick them all out and eat them separately, so leaving them as a garnish makes it easier for me. (And I think the loaf looks prettier like that.) But you could easily fold them into the batter instead!
Before popping the loaf into the oven, be sure you cover the pan with foil. This prevents the top from browning too quickly and keeps the nuts from burning. Nobody wants pecans that taste like charcoal!
This Pecan Banana Bread is incredibly moist and packed with flavor, without being overbearing or overly sweet. You’ll love eating a slice of this for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. Trust me, I did all 3—and I finished the entire loaf in less than 24 hours!
Time to buy more bananas!